Monday, May 7, 2012

A Fortnight in Ramanasramam Library The old Library, near the Morvi guest house was still in use. It will soon be demolished as the new one is ready. The new one is circular with glass, and looks rather like a space ship settled comfortably in the back yard. The old one is memory laden, with my three daughters reading in it, a glimpse from the past.
Here is what I wrote on my Ipod,  an elder with a new gadget.

Wishful Thinking

whisper in the earth
finding its way
to the secret stamen
Of the soul
Down by the clouds
The earth seems seamless
Waiting for seeds to drift.

 Asramam Library
 18th April 2012
In the Brothers Karamazov, the problem is essentially that the characters in the novel are essentially contestatory causing a sense of turpitude. This essentially means that the violence set up between  them leads to an understanding of our own lives, as given in the text of the spectacularly difficult. Dostoevsky essentially works with rage as the most banal of human emotions. I quote from the Brother Karamazov, minus punctuation, since I havn't figured that out on my new Ipod,  a gift from the JNU.
"The path Aloysha chose was a path going in the opposite direction but he chose it with the same thirst for swift achievement. As soon as he reflected seriously he was convinced of the existence of god and immortality and at once he instinctively said I want to live for God and immortality. In the same way if he had decided that god and immortality did not exist, he would at once have become an atheist and a socialist. For socialism is not merely the labor question it is before all things the atheistic question, the form taken by atheism today. It is the question of the tower of Babel built without god not to mount from heaven to earth but to set up heaven on earth."

20th April 2012
So characters juggle emotions each aware of the effect of speech or thoughts on the other. They know that what they say is important to themselves as much as to those whom they direct their attention to. The vulnerable and the innocent create alliances that are not at all shadowy. While louder protagonists scheme for the readers attention, the quietest and the most lucid occupy pages just hushing the others into rational spaces. Yet the contestants can only be oppositional whether calm or not. Goodness by itself remains a lambent quality. Monks have it, in the novel and children have it, and perhaps those who have nothing to lose. Those who occupy the still place of the soul as they watch the water flow into the field or polish lamps or carry the weight of another's soul. And yet the real world, the temporal world, is peopled by those others full of rage and passion and enmity and lust, they too are rivetting to read about.

21st April 2012
Sometimes the heat not just burns the leaves, it causes forest fires which then can be seen like a trail of heat scarring the mountain simply, like a memory that holds no story. Sometimes the longing for rain is so profound that everyone looks sky ward but the clouds say nothing back, for its like any other day when the blueness creates distance between us and serendipity. There does however remain that single strand of hope when one sees the fragile flowers of the neem tree and the possibility that the almond flowers equally fine, will drop, leaving a trail of desire for fruit.

22nd April
The calamity rises not for discordance in faith but from the value put on one's own work sphere, which edges out all other options in real time. It's thus not an absence of love and longing, it is only the exaggeration of these. The aphorism becomes the mirror of the discourse because  in the fragment of the moment arises a shard of memory. This is where theory becomes philosophy and time moves from enumeration to meaning. Symbols are essentially a quest for brevity, where complex meanings and larger narratives can be immediately grasped. We know that this homogenising act must be immediately grasped by the receiver, but further there must be a preparedness for this moment. Whether it is religion or advertising, the actual display of meaning lies in the spectacular use of a meta language. Here dualism appears not only in the empty sign but when it is fulfilled, the shift from grammar to usage takes place. What is actually used remains a moment of choice for the author of the symbol who is usually a social being, and the subject who receives the symbol perfect if its fully dramatised form. How ancient were those choices (the 'arbitrary' in symbolic analyses) and how modern their contextualisation is a subject for speculative histories.

23April 2012
Adi Sankara the eighth century philosopher, walked from Kaladi in Kerala, to Kashmir (Kasimira). My interest in him was aroused in 1981 when on a field trip for my Phd thesis (I wrote it in Delhi School of Economics, Department of Sociology from 1980 to 1987) I saw Kaladi, from the hilltop of Malyatoor, where St Thomas the apostle of Jesus is said to have left a footprint.
 Today, I read about seventy pages (I have recovered from exhaustion after a week at the Ramanasramam, and am back to reading forty pages an hour!) of a book by Jonathan Bader, from New South Wales, which looks at the coceipt of digvijay or pilgrimage as conquest. The idea is that by defeating opponents to Saivism, Adi Sankara was able to actually communicate, through the use of the 'lingua franca' of Sanskrit, that a pan Indian Hinduism was possible through saivism. The conversion of difference to homeogeneity was made possible by overcoming dualism. While this is a convenient assumption, what becomes interesting for any writer on this subject is  the geographical details accompanying the narratives of hagiographies.Ofcourse the legend of national integration is powerfully woven into the texts. So also, it is interesting that a thousand year difference in terms of dating appears in the hagiographies, and I think this might be because the inflection of Nestoreanism  in the Bhakti cult would thus be negated.
24th April
Heat rises spiralling upward and the peacocks become anxious without rain. The summer advances like a convoy of marching soldiers, and flowers wilt and fall in a star spray of quietitude swept up with dead leaves. Rain remains a distant memory and the dogs loll about, laughing with an ancinet memory of just such summers, when humans waits for thunder, like a drum clap of clouds. The cat caught an Arani, a little female snake, with a pink tail and interrogated it  allowing it to hope for an extension of life and tail, and then ate it, savouring it inch by tiny inch as if it was a land eel. The brahmans think the cat lives off the ghee they keep for lamps. It rained at last, and the battery of the Ipod is now diminishing. Next time I will experiment with shorter notes. The haiku, and black ink on paper drawings. The older one grows, the more time there seems released.

27th April
It's so hot, my eyes are soldering themselves in my head. The forest fire, according to Arun Venkatraman, (school teacher at Marudam Farm School and an ecologist, ) burnt up 15 percent of the new woods planted in nurseries on the hill, and that was about 80 % of the work they  have done in the last eight years. If it rains, perhaps some of the saplings might survive.

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